Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Romantic Comedy Classic

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Thursday Romantic Comedy Classic. I’m taking a course called The Romantic Comedy where we’re charting the history and development of romantic comedies from the 1920s to the present. We’ll be watching some pretty iconic films, some of which I haven’t seen before. Each week, I’ll be providing a short review of one romantic comedy classic from the annals of history.

When Harry Met Sally
Directed by Rob Reiner
Released July 21, 1989

After several weeks of what might not be obviously classified as romantic comedies (“Victor Victoria” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”), we’ve arrived at one of the most celebrated romantic comedies of all time, akin to “Annie Hall” for what it unarguably contributed to the genre. The pairing of Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan is what really makes it sparkle, and it’s strange to think that neither of them are doing much these days. Crystal’s last live-action film was “Analyze That” way back in 2002, while Meg Ryan hasn’t made a good film since “Kate and Leopold” in 2001 (but watch out for her newest film, “Serious Moonlight,” which is quite interesting, and look for a review the first weekend of December). In any case, forget the present and hark back to the wonder of 1989, when these two met, bickered, became friends, and considered becoming more than friends. There are so many magnificent moments in this film, and it’s Harry’s decided code of how things work and Sally’s outright rejection of those standards that makes it gel so wonderfully. Crystal is charming and hilarious, but this is also Ryan’s greatest role, setting the golden standard for romantic comedy leading ladies, including her future performances in “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.” Her famous scene in Katz’s Deli is perhaps the most memorable, but every minute of this film is purely delightful. Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby are fun in supporting roles, and the film’s repeated vignettes of older couples talking about how they got together is fantastic. Its setting in New York City and the chance encounters the Big Apple allows for are wondrous, and the multiple “first” meetings between Harry and Sally are all marvelous. There’s really little not to like in this terrific film that can easily be deemed the romantic comedy.


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